As temperatures begin to drop, homeowners will be turning their attention to their pipes. Unpredictable weather conditions, blizzards, and severe cold fronts are a common part of the winter season for much of the country.
Unfortunately, where there’s extreme cold, there’s also the potential for frozen or busted pipes.
Frozen pipes are an expensive and frustrating side effect of freezing weather. In fact, busted pipes are one of the most common types of property damage reported during the winter season.
How Do Pipes Freeze?
The science behind frozen pipes is actually pretty simple. Water expands when it freezes, which is totally fine for ice cube trays, but not so great when you’re dealing with fully enclosed metal pipes. When the water inside a pipe freezes, it might expand beyond the available space, causing the pipe to rupture.
The problems really begin when the water thaws. The pressure inside the pipe will burst and cause water to escape, potentially causing thousands of dollars worth of water damage to your property.
Signs of Frozen Pipes
When your pipes freeze, they might be covered in frost. This happens because the water inside the pipe is freezing cold, causing the surface temperature of the pipe to drop to frosty levels.
Lack of Water
If there’s little to no water coming out of your faucets, then there’s most likely something wrong with your pipes. If temperatures are below freezing, then there’s a strong chance that your pipes might be frozen.
Another strong indicator for frozen pipes is a strange smell coming from your faucets or drains. The water is no longer running when a pipe is completely frozen, so there’s no continuous circulation. When that happens, there’s only one way for the potential odors to escape – into your house.
9 Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes
Of course, knowing when your pipes are frozen isn’t as helpful as preventing them from freezing in the first place. The best solution to frozen pipes is being proactive and stopping it before it happens. Here are nine helpful and simple tips to prevent your pipes from freezing:
1. Understand the Minimum Temperature Threshold
Pipes will not freeze unless the temperatures outside fall below 32° F. If the temperatures are above 32° Fahrenheit, then you shouldn’t have any trouble. Keep an eye on the weather and learn to recognize the times when your pipes are at risk.
2. Ensure Proper Insulation
Proper insulation in your home can be extremely helpful in preventing frozen pipes. Insulation prevents cold temperatures from getting inside your home. You can avoid the transfer of cold weather by adequately insulating your home. If you do, the chances of your pipes freezing are much lower.
3. Seal Doors, Windows, and Cracks
Your best bet against frozen pipes is to prevent cold temperature transference. Doors, windows, and other cracks heavily contribute to temperature transfers, which can ultimately lead to frozen pipes. If you seal those off, you’ll be in much better shape in the winter.
4. Install a Smart Thermostat
Using a smart thermostat is an energy-efficient solution that will help you regulate your home’s temperature at all times. When you leave your house for the day or you’re visiting family during the holidays, you should keep the heat on to prevent the temperature from dropping too low. Smart thermostats are a great way to accomplish that without spiking your electric bill.
5. Close the Garage
If you consistently leave your garage door open, you’re allowing lots of cold air to get inside. This could have a devastating and significant impact on your vulnerable indoor plumbing. To prevent freezing pipes, try to keep your garage door closed as often as possible.
6. Run the Water
If the water is constantly running, it won’t have a chance to freeze, but you will obviously want to avoid a huge water bill. To prevent frozen pipes, you should leave the faucet on a steady, slow drip throughout the day and night.
7. Open Cabinets Close to Plumbing System
Heating and air conditioning don’t always reach the inside of cabinets and under sinks. Most of the temperature behind those cabinet doors comes from the outside. The most effective way to heat this area is by leaving your cabinet doors open, so your air conditioning can be more effective.
8. Install Energy-Efficient Heating
Energy-efficient heating is a win-win solution for freezing pipes. It allows you to ensure your home is adequately heated at all times without a high electricity bill. Using energy-efficient solutions is also ideal year-round.
9. Install a Specialized Pipe Freeze Protection System
Warmup’s Pipe Freeze Protection provides state-of-the-art freeze prevention for your pipes. Cables are wrapped around your pipes, drains, and sprinkler lines and heated using electricity. The system regulates the temperature of the wires based on the ambient temperature, so it’s also energy efficient.
Choose Warmup for More Reliable Pipes
Warmup is the number one provider for radiant heating worldwide, offering energy-efficient solutions with the best warranties in the industry. If you’re interested in protecting your pipes from the frigid cold this winter, Warmup has the ideal solutions at affordable prices that are perfect for your heating needs. Contact us today!